“Exotic” Resort Burns In San Pedro; Firefighters Say Thatch Roof Was Hazard
Early this morning, the Exotic Caye Resort, located on Coconut Drive in San Pedro Town, was the scene of a major fire which destroyed 3 buildings that
was part of the compound. The owners of Exotic, which has reportedly been doing business for the last 20 years, must now make repairs and try to
recover from over half a million dollars in damages.
The fire started at around 2:30 this morning, and it is believed to have started from inside a laundry room. That fire quickly spread to 3 nearby
structures, and the fire officials say that a huge contributing factor to the quick spread of the blaze were the thatched roofs on the buildings.
These 3 buildings were occupied by guests who had booked for the tourism high season, and the quick thinking of the security guard on duty allowed for
the resort staff to alert their guests and get them out of the rooms with most of their items intact.
One business owner whose property is in close proximity to Exotic Caye Resort, spoke with us off camera about how he and others helped to put the fire
out within two hours’ time:
"I received a call at 3:30 in the morning and it was my waitress who lives across the street saying the resort was on fire. Then I asked her if my
restaurant was on fire and she said no and I said I was on my way. When I arrived, both fire department's fire trucks were on the scene as well the
fire department personnel and San Pedro police department. They were at the time trying to put out 3 buildings that were on fire and there were flames
shooting 15, 20 foot in the air at the time when I arrive. At that time, we started to assist as much as possible without being in the way and the fire
department, the police department and all the volunteers were able to take the fire under control and put it out. After it was all completed, speaking
to one of the volunteers - the way it was found was; He was driving home about 2:30 in the morning and saw smoke coming from the laundry room, which
time he immediately called 911 and requested their assistance. He proceeded to come on the property and located the security guard, which time both of
them went banging on all the doors and waking all the guest and telling them to evacuate the building, so there was no harm to the people. Thankfully
there was no personnel that was injured that were staying in the hotels. There was policeman that I know of who was assisting the fire department who
received a pretty good gash to his hand and he will probably require some medical attention. And thankfully the one patrol man had the smarts enough to
see that my restaurant has a propane tank on the side of my building and it was starting to heating up from the flames - at which time he and another
gentleman moved the propane tank and took it across the street.”
The resort manager and his staff have since been able to make preliminary inspections of the damage caused by the fire, and they report to the San
Pedro Sun Newspaper that the estimated loss is in the vicinity of about 600 thousand dollars. None of the buildings were insured. The guests were
relocated to other resorts on the island, whose staff and managers wanted to assist Exotic Resort in trying to manage this crisis. The San Pedro Sun
reports that the principals of the resort will commence rebuilding efforts as soon as they are able to.
Massive Fire Guts San Pedro Resort
An early morning inferno caused over half a million dollars in damages to the Exotic Caye Resort, on the island of San Pedro Ambergris Caye. The twenty year old resort went up in flames just after two this morning; three of its buildings with deluxe suites were gutted by the time the blaze was brought under control. But even as the fire was contained, there are serious disruptions in a period considered peak time for the tourism season. Duane Moody has a report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Disaster struck once again on San Pedro…this time on Coconut Drive near the center of the island. A massive fire gutted three buildings at Exotic Caye Resort sometime after two this morning. San Pedro police arrived on the scene shortly after the fire started, followed by fire fighters, who got into operation to quell the blaze. Several hours later, the fire was out, but the damage had been done.
Romar Rodriguez, Manager, Exotic Caye Resort
“I came very quickly to check and upon arriving, I saw that the fire was already getting into other buildings. As far as I know, the fire started about fifteen minutes earlier than when I saw the actual fire happening. When I got at the scene, I observed that the fire was already taken on two buildings while I was here and the fire engine was already here on the scene when I arrived. So they were trying to turn off the fire at that moment. It wasn’t on the three structures that the fire started, it was on the laundry room that it started. That’s what we are determining right now. The fire marshal is saying that they believe it started from the laundry place. But security also gave me a report and I asked him where he saw the fire first and he told me he saw it from the laundry. He said he was trying to use a hose because it was a small little fire, but because it was a thatch roof laundry facility, the fire just catch very quickly and he couldn’t handle it. That’s when he started evacuating the guests quickly and calling the firemen.”
The fire started from the laundry facility and made its way via the thatched roofs to three buildings with several deluxe suites. Patrons inside the rooms at the time of the inferno were quickly escorted out of harm’s way and were accommodated at other resorts.
“There were about three structures that were destroyed which there were actually about four units in each structure that was destroyed by the fire.”
“Was the building occupied?”
“At the moment, yes it was occupied. But when the security found that there was a fire at the laundry, he quickly informed all the guests and started knocking all the doors for the people to come out. They were able to take out most of their supplies; they had time enough to evacuate before any fire gets into the rooms. That’s the first order of business that I took care of – the guests to see where they were going to be staying. We do have another property called Grand Baymen Belize. We had several condos available for them to stay there, but some of them we couldn’t fit all of them because as you said, it is high season and we had the resort filled. So I was calling different managers in the hotel business and they were able to help us to accommodate others guests that we couldn’t find a suitable.”
While a complete assessment has not been carried out as yet, Resort Manager, Romar Rodriguez says that the estimated structural loss is valued at two hundred thousand dollars per building, equipment and furniture. But because of the high season for the tourism industry, the loss is even greater for the resort and Rodriguez says there is an urgency to restore the structures.
“I would say about two hundred thousand dollars Belize in each building; that’s approximate, but I can’t tell you exactly how much we lost there.”
“How many rooms are we speaking about?”
“There are two buildings of four units and one building of two units. The one building of two units are closely about one thousand square feet with the two units and the other two buildings with four units are approximately around five hundred and seventy-five square feet each.”
The structures according to Rodriguez were not insured. Duane Moody for News Five.
Over $600K in fire damages at Exotic Caye Beach Resort
According to Manager of Exotic Caye Beach Resort, Romar Rodriguez, he was alerted about the fire by his security personnel. By the time he got to the resort, the fire had spread to the other structures. “I got there like 15 minutes after I got the call and when I got to the scene, I noticed the fire had already spread over to two buildings. Fire personnel were already on the scene fighting the fire,” recounted Rodriguez, who was still on the grounds assessing the damages.
With the help of volunteers from the community and police officers, the fire was brought under control around 4AM. “Three structures (and the laundry room) were destroyed, and each had four units. At the moment of the fire, the units were occupied by tourists. When the security guard saw the fire, he quickly notified our guests and they were able to leave the buildings with most of their belongings. They had enough time to evacuate the area,” stated Rodriguez. As such, no-one was hurt as a result of the fire.
While the total losses for the laundry room, the three buildings and its content, has not been ascertained at this time, Rodriguez said that it is beyond $600,000. Unfortunately none of the structures were insured.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun